In Advance of Tar Sands Federal Hearing, Members of Congress Say Don’t Rush to Dirty Fuels

Tar sands duckFifty members of Congress yesterday asked the State Department not to rush to approve a TransCanada Corporation dirty fuels pipeline, citing the need for further study of the fuel’s potent greenhouse gas emissions.  The letter comes just days before a public hearing in the nation’s capitol called by the State Department.  The hearing is set for June 28th. Tar sands have been responsible for oiling thousands of birds in Alberta, Canada, where they are extracted. They also put wildlife and property at risk in the U.S. as pipeline ruptures are a virtual certainty.

Conservation groups have decried the extreme risks posed by tar sands oil, the dangers of a 2000 mile pipeline over the U.S. heartland.  But that has yet to stop the State Department or Obama administration from signaling that they will do anything less than fast track the project.  The only glimmer of hope as yet was when they recently agreed to add two weeks to the public comment period and the two additional public hearings, including DC.

The Keystone XL pipeline would double U.S. consumption of one of the world’s dirtiest fuels; substantially increase America’s carbon pollution; and while oil is still gushing into the Gulf- bring the threat of oil spills through America’s heartland. Moreover, the plans for the pipeline cuts corners on safety, calling for using thinner pipe materials and operating the pipeline at a higher maximum burst pressure than the standard. The National Wildlife Federation recently released a report cataloging the dangers of these pipelines: “Staying Hooked on a Dirty Fuel: Why Canadian Tar Sands are a Bad Bet for the United States.”

Together with our partners, we are urging Americans concerned about wildlife and global warming in the Washington D.C. area to attend a public hearing at the State Department (Marshall Conference Center, East Auditorium, use the 21st St. entrance) on Tuesday, June 28th from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM and say NO to dirty fuels and oil spills in the heartland. You can also speak out online until July 2.